Eli Goree took on the extraordinary task of playing a young Cassius Clay, whom the world recognizes today as Muhammad Ali. The 26-year-old portrays the world-famous boxer in Regina King’s feature film directorial debut, One Night In Miami, which follows the friendship between Ali, activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and NFL star Jim Brown.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
“Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the story follows a young Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world. While crowds of people swarm Miami Beach to celebrate the match, Clay – unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws – instead spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in one of Miami’s historically black neighborhoods celebrating with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people.”
“In One Night in Miami, Powers explores what happened during these pivotal hours through the dynamic relationship between the four men and the way their friendship, paired with their shared struggles, fueled their path to becoming the civil rights icons they are today,” a press release adds.
Check out some photos of Eli Goree and learn more about him below. So far, he is best known for his roles as Quincy in Ballers, Mad Dog in Riverdale, and Wells Jaha in The 100 — but we’ve got a feeling this role is going to have the nation praising him on a new level.
1. Oh so dapper.
Eli Goree is a Canadian actor who is currently starring as Munroe “Mad Dog” Moore in CW series, Riverdale. The show has recently come under fire, as Vanessa Morgan opened up about Black actresses coming second to white leads in the series. Riverdale actress Bernadette Beck also talked about Black tokenism, saying she was “completely forgotten” in certain scenes, and more. Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has since apologized and vowed to honor characters of color.
2. Fresh lineup, fresh fit.
“Black history IS American history! I am so excited that today, on Juneteenth, we get to share this first image from our film #OneNightinMiami Can’t wait for you all to see the brilliance these brothers bring to their portrayals of Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay and Jim Brown,” Regina King captioned a One Night in Miami first-look photo over the summer.
3. Cassius Clay reborn.
As far as the best advice he’s received while coming up in the industry, Goree told The Shadow League in an interview “Not counting your chickens before they hatch, you know, like a lot of times you’ll get offers for a roll or pegged to do something and then you know funding will drop after the project or they’re going in a different direction or you know you’re just really taking everything one step at a time and realizing that there are no overnight successes that really it’s a lot of work overtime.”
4. Looking like a GQ cover star.
He also tells the site that if he weren’t acting he’d be preaching… “Honestly, I’d probably be a preacher. You know I do preach [there] sometimes you know with the young adult and stuff like that. And I’m heavily involved with the ministry and doing stuff with the AIDS walk in L.A. As well as in our communities. We did a health day at our church. We feed the homeless and that’s a really big passion of mine.”
5. Spotted with the KING, Miss Regina.
“It’s just really being in touch with the community and then preaching you know as far as we’re just spreading the love of Jesus Christ and so that that’s kind of more priority and probably when I retire, I would do something like that,” Goree adds.
6. Get excited.
Goree is really into comedy, as he went on to reveal, “I mean I do a lot of standup in L.A. I did the comedy bunker last month before I started shooting on Riverdale for season four.”
One Night In Miami is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on Christmas day and will hit Prime Video January 15, 2021. The Venice Film Festival first hosted the world premiere on Sept. 7. Stay tuned!